Every day we talk to customers who are trying to adjust and adapt to the ‘new normal’ during lockdown. Restrictions are starting to ease and there is light at the end of the tunnel, but for the time being we are still dealing with the challenge of trying to run a business under extreme restrictions.
Businesses are trying to encourage people to support their local launderettes and dry cleaners while keeping everyone safe and abiding by the government guidelines. On a personal level most of us are combatting boredom, and some of us – isolation.
There are a number of ways to engage the local community which can both help promote your services and bring people ‘together’ while we are all apart.
One of the easiest, cheapest and most widely used tools we have for this is social media. When used effectively your business page on Facebook and Instagram can be an excellent advertising channel as well as being a way to communicate not just with customers, but your community. For example, perhaps you have just cleaned another lovely winter coat and it looks fantastic. Share a picture of the lovely clean coat ready to wear on a nice winter walk and engage your followers by asking a question like ‘What is your favourite place locally to take a winter walk?’ Or you might ask followers to share pictures of their favourite outdoor spot? If you have cleaned some trainers, you could add a picture and ask people to share how they are keeping fit in lockdown. Be creative and have fun with it.
Selectively liking and sharing other relevant local or online events is another great way to expand your audience and to provide useful information for your customers. This can also be linked to services you offer. For example, if someone has organised a local litter picking group (or organise one yourself), you could share the group to raise awareness. Plus, since people will be outside in the cold and rain, anyone taking part in the group can have a discount for having outdoor wear cleaned and reproofed.
The sky really is the limit with social media and you don’t have to be a tech whiz to have a really engaging business page. There are lots of free sites such as Canva that can help create professional and eye-catching graphics.
While people are being encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, they are allowed to visit essential services, what could you do to make that trip out a little more productive or enriching for your customers?
You could register with your local foodbank to become a drop off point and even take collections from customers while you collect their laundry or ironing.
You could organise a book exchange point in the shop so that when customers drop off their laundry, they can bring in old books (which you can sanitise) and swap them for a new one.
Use any dead space in the shop by stocking products for local artists or crafters. Again, be creative and keep people informed using social media.